Ashley D Smith, Yan Zhang, Shantanu J Shewale, Robert C Barber, Michael S Allen1 and Ryan M Huebinger
Recent advances in molecular technology have facilitated a more thorough investigation of the human microbiome. These developments have allowed examination of associations between disease states and a person’s microbiome. While the majority of scientific literature has been focused on the microbial flora in the intestines, attention has recently been directed at the pulmonary microbiome and chronic disease states. Of particular interest is the microbiome’s effect on mechanical ventilation in trauma patients, where ventilator-associated pneumonia leads to significantly increased mortality rates. However, within the trauma population, many patients that exhibit the clinical symptoms of a pulmonary infection fail to culture or exhibit only “normal respiratory tract flora.” Herein, we discuss the current state of pulmonary microbiome research, risk factors, and future avenues of research involving the pulmonary microbiome as it relates to trauma patients.